For example at the beginning of Act two lots of very short sentences are used, such as Oh, youre done then, Aye, and I am. These short sentences lack any detail that might possibly lead to trouble or cause a conflict. This means that the audience would pick up on the underlying tension between them. However the short sentences could also just be disinterested family chat showing that, despite Johns affair, the Proctors are carrying on as usual. Miller also gives John and Elizabeths conversation awkward pauses as well as rushes of conversation.
This is shown by There is a pause but also [John] How may that mouse frighten you, Elizabeth? You [Elizabeth] It is a mouse no more. The awkward pauses show that they are both finding it hard to find things to talk about and are trying to avoid certain subjects. The fact that the conversation does not flow easily shows that there is a lot of tension felt between them. However the fact that there are rushes of conversation also shows that they both have strong views about what the other does.
Another way that the language affects the feeling of tension is by the actual lines said by the actor and actress playing John and Elizabeth. For instance it is clear from the lines said by Elizabeth that she is still very suspicious of John, What keeps you so late? Its almost dark. Elizabeth is suspicious of John and wants to know where hes been and why he is so late returning home. The audience realise that this is because of what happened with Abigail. John comes into a court every time I come into this house showing that Elizabeth leaves no stone unturned in finding out what he has done and where he has been.
This links into the idea of The Crucible as a trial within John Proctors relationship. There is a need within his relationship for forgiveness; both parties need to forgive and forget. I feel that the language is one of the best ways of showing the tension between John and Elizabeth. Although it does need to be thought about it isnt as subtle as dramatic irony meaning that most people will pick up on the tension between them from the structure and words that Miller has chosen. The scene links into the general theme of intolerance within the play.
Due to the theocratic puritan society in which the play is set it is impossible for anything new ideas to be introduced to the community. Anything that went against the puritanical doctrine was immediately branded as heresy so removing it from the community. Also heresy was seen as being satanic; the work of the devil. This intolerance is shown particularly during Rev. Hales questioning of Proctor. During this inquisition one of the most important parts of heresy comes from Elizabeth. This is when she denies the existence of witches.
This then links into act III when Danforth says a person is either with this court of he must be counted against it. Elizabeth denying the existence of witches is seen as being against the court as she is not with it. The witch trials themselves represent intolerance and the hanging of witches is seen as the cure to restore the communitys purity. Another of the major themes, which this scene links into, is that of hysteria. This also links into the historical context of the play; McCarthyism. By the end of the act hysteria has set in on the town of Salem.
People try to save themselves by convicting others. However it isnt just self-preservation which leads some to some of the convictions; lots of people attempt to settle personal quarrels. Abigail, Reverend Parris and Thomas Putnam all manage to settle some of their personal quarrels by condemning others as witches. This is similar to what happened during McCarthyism. Those who found themselves before the HUAC accused their own friends and neighbours in an attempt to escape from their own accusations.
However some people, such as the initiator of the hunt Joseph McCarthy, also used it to try and settle personal quarrels. By the end of the scene the audience should be feeling very worried and tense. Everything is beginning to get out of hand by the end of the act. These are the same thoughts and feelings, which were being felt within the American public at the time of McCarthyism. All of the afore mentioned methods help to create a perfect sense of tension. When they are all combined it means that the atmosphere is created holistically so that all the senses can be used to experience it.